An anthropologist on Earth

At first glance, the inhabitants of Earth look very much like we do. Their clothes might not be so colourful or intricately decorated as ours, but they are made with the same fabrics and use buttons and clips to fasten much as we do.  It is noticeable though, that they utilise the concept of matching socks.  We might match the colours to the colours of our clothes, but they actually wear 2 socks that are identical to each other.  The way in which this is achieved has yet to be studied. 

Although the clothing is in plentiful supply here, many choose to wear far less of it than one would imagine appropriate for the climatic conditions.  Younger people can often be seen adorned in items that they call ‘strappy dresses.’  These do not protect the individual from the elements and leave vast expanses of skin exposed.  In addition, they seem unable to adequately protect their feet.  Much of their footwear has decorative holes which leave toes and other areas on full view.  I have noted that they have some kind of protective paint to adorn the nails which may turn out to have the waterproofing properties that the footwear clearly lacks. 

Although the climate is often unpredictable and inclement, many of them do not protect their heads even though many varieties of hat are available.  I have noted that it is far less common to wear a hat for a social gathering than would be the case for us.  And even when such garments are worn, they do not seem overly concerned by the need to match the hat to the other colours of their attire, or to completely clash them.  It appears that the extremities of these communities are more able to withstand the elements thus rendering hats and gloves less essential.

Upon first encounter the natives may extend a greeting.  This does not seem to be a universal standard because it is common place for them to look at the floor rather than engage in an exchange of words even though both individuals are in close proximity.  At stops that are erected for buses and platforms designed to expect trains, they may stand in silence appearing oblivious to others and may even engage in behaviours that suggest a wilful desire to not speak when spoken to. 

I have yet to establish whether there are rules for when the exchange of words may commence.  There is evidence that the location plays a pivotal role in this and also dependant on their intended destination.  When meeting at a place of transportation they seem less inclined to use speech.  This is especially true if their attire denotes the formality of business.  When meeting in a field or a more rural setting, it does seem that interchange of speech occurs more frequently.  Again, the attire clearly signifies that using words at this time may be acceptable.  When bedecked in items of rubber footwear which they call wellies it seems that a ritual of speech exchange is expected.  This is even more visible if they are accompanied by what they call ‘man’s best friend’ which by all appearances seems to be no more than a canine creature with 4 legs and an uncontrollable bowel. 

It is particularly noteworthy, that the altitude must be considered before expressing a type of greeting.  At lower levels in the areas of multiple dwellings, it is not appropriate to greet another human as they pass by.  However, once they have ascended a mountainous terrain and are at higher elevation, it seems that they frequently exchange greetings to unknown passers-by. A similar occurrence is seen alongside rivers and sometimes when a bicycle is used.

The content of these exchanges is indeed fascinating and governed by rules which must have been instilled in them at younger ages or else, one has to ponder, how they know which words to say, and which are superfluous at this time.  There does not seem to be a hierarchical nature to the interchanges that take place outdoors.  As a person approaches another, they may express words which suggest that they are finding the morning to be good.  It is never established whether there is indeed anything good happening.  This adjective seems to suffice. It is most uncommon for anything further to take place.  They do not seem concerned to exchange more information or to question each other about this.  From studying historical texts and images, I can see that hats were in the past, more commonplace and would actually be removed as part of this greeting ritual.  If the expression of good morning is used in a more formal indoor workplace setting, and if used by someone considered important, then it is expected that everyone replies as they pass.  The higher status person expresses the greeting and often receives the reply with the addition of their name and title added.  This shows a devout following and understanding of one’s place in the hierarchy.  School children are expected to use the same technique thus, good morning is followed by good morning Mr or Mrs Jones. 

There is a second greeting which may be used when meeting someone who is more familiar to them.  At this time they may inquire as to how that person is.  How are you, they say. This is a complex interchange, and one which would be dangerous to undertake if not familiar with the precise rules of ritual.  The question suggests some kind of genuine interest in the health of the other, but its intention is paradoxically the opposite.  There is a predetermined response required and no other words are acceptable at this time.  The receiver of the greeting replies by saying that they are indeed very well and thanks the asker.  They then repeat the question words of how are you.  The original speaker may now express that they are also very well and thankful. Less articulate beings for whom a phrase of 4 words would be difficult, may just use the one monosyllabic utterance of fine.  The expression of thanks may still be exchange before repeating the question. 

It is deemed hazardous to use words other than these and anyone daring to do so is subject to punishment in the form of ridicule, distain and for the worst repeat offender, complete rejection from the tribe. An example of a crime of this type might be to express that one is in fact not at all well.  Sometimes this goes unnoticed and providing that no extra words are used, the question can be repeated, and the other individual can make it clear that they are most well and that the interchange is now over. But if the sick person attempts to clarify or elaborate, the tribal elders will sound the displeased bell.  It cannot be heard by mere mortal ears, but the wind carries a message that whispers – why are you like this?  Why are you doing this?  What is wrong with you?

After residing with this tribe for some weeks I was able to witness that slight modifications are permitted if a third party is involved.  When the 2 parties of the verbal greeting exchange share a common acquaintance or family member, then they are allowed to add on some words.  They can ask how the other person’s mother might be.  If they know of a particular circumstance or recent event, then they are able to include words referencing that.  So they may ask how the trip went, or how the operation went.  Events good or bad seem to be of no significance at this time.  The question is received and as before the standard answer is that all went well thank you.  Here again, we see that deviation is unexpected and unwelcome.  Extraneous details should not be added. If a newer member of the tribe accidentally adds explanation, then it is quickly made clear that this is unwelcome and unacceptable.  They will be told that is a shame or that the other person is sorry to hear that. What follows seems to show a rather underdeveloped culture in which no more enquiries are made and no facts established.  In my professional opinion, I would say that the person was not at all sorry to hear that. If that were the case then surely actions or offers of care would follow?

 It is my conclusion that these people have limited vocabulary and delayed or damaged access to emotional reciprocity. 

The environment in which they reside is particularly dangerous and badly adapted to their needs.  They have decorated their homes with intricately patterned carpets or floor coverings which render it impossible to see steps and risk affecting the senses detrimentally, with dizzying headaches and eye strain possible.  Both inside homes and in outdoor areas, they have created staircases that inspire wonder and fear.  The beautiful designs which are called bespoke, would in my culture, be placed in a gallery to be viewed but never used.  To ascend something ridden with gaps and holes and patterns and swirls is most terrifying.  One loses sense of the ground and of being grounded.  It is preferable to crawl on all fours thus keeping better contact with the ground.  The same effect can be witnessed on a pebbly beach.

They also seem to experience deficits in the ways that they receive and filter light.  They require bright lights in their homes and workplaces.  Large shiny and sometimes flickering lights which appear to have a restraining function.  They pacify the occupants into a virtually catatonic state of silence and submission.  Desks are provided and each person is expected to quietly work there without question or discussion of discomfort. 

A strange and interesting ritual occurs at what they call the water cooler.  The device seems to be dispensing vital fluids needed to sustain life, and yet they are more preoccupied by the temperature of it.  Temperature plays an important role in this culture. 

When one person attempts to extract water, it is expected that others gather around them.  The same phenomena can be witnessed around machines for coffee and others that vend things.  Here again, I have witnessed only basic communication skills which have limited words and responses available.  The temperature is often mentioned so I conclude that this is something to be feared.  It is bizarre then to note that their clothing is never appropriate for the environment they place themselves in.  The are obvious deficiencies in planning, research, and meteorological knowledge.

Once the temperature has been acknowledged by them all without dissent or discussion, they are allowed to pick something that has been witnessed by the group.  A stronger member of the tribe will initiate, and it is expected, indeed required, that all the others have seen the same episode of a voyeuristic documentary on their television sets the evening that was previous.  Any weaker members who did not see this or disagree about its purpose will be ejected and rejected immediately. Not cooperating with the group in this way is often punished with withdrawal of social invitations and even the loss of employment at a subsequent review.  The worker that is rejected may have been the most productive or knowledgeable in regards to the business matters, but lacking the skills of tv watching overrides this inevitably results in banishment to the fringes of their society. 

Leisure activities are another important part of this planet.  My planet also places great emphasis on enjoyment, but we like to use our minds to think and to feel and to learn.  We fill our minds so that we feel connected to our world and those around us.  Having full minds that we constantly feed enables us to help others, support and teach others.  We call this mindfulness.

Interestingly this is yet another facet of life on Earth which is in direct antithesis to my planet.  They also have a practise that they call mindfulness, but for them it involves trying to empty their minds and think about as little as possible.  Sometimes they have a small list of things they may focus on.  They suggest that this is the way to their nirvana of calm.  It is not yet understood how employing this is beneficial and it is clear that it should be renamed mindemptyness. 

It is not only the use of the mind which operates in a limited and backwards fashion.  The residents of Earth do not yet seem to have developed the tools to match words to actions.  One can only presume that until they change from emptying their minds and begin to see the benefits of filling them, that this is unlikely to change. In their brief interchanges of words, they often appear to agree that a task should be completed.  Sometimes, depending on the hierarchy, they may offer to undertake the completion of this task.  The words are spoken and clearly heard but as no written evidence is taken, they can easily be later denied.  The saying of the words does not seem to connect to actions.  Should an expectation be expressed, or indignation vented when the task is left incomplete, they seem to have completely forgotten the initial interchange.  They appear to feel victimised by references to it and use denial as a protective shield. Expectations of task completion and remembrance of promises are viewed as a type of abuse.  The perpetrator or aggressor in this society is the member who dares to remember and believe and expect. Any demonstration of frustration, dismay or confusion when referencing this is again punishable by banishment. 

After years spent studying this community, it is clear that they have strict rules and codes of conduct to which they all adhere. I must conclude that they demonstrate a rigidity to routine, and a reluctance to change it. 

Knowledge is limited and betterment by education is not prevalent.  A basic awareness of their planet and its structure can be extrapolated from more learned members, but the majority remain ignorant, and live a limited existence which does not seek better understanding of itself.  There are strict rules for social convention that can often be witnessed.  These rules vary depending upon the location.  Humans that meet upon a field to witness ball rolling into what they call goals, tend to use basic standard phrases and often come together in communal chanting of these.  A religious offering perhaps? Their brains do not seem to have developed fully enough yet to hold facts and to dissect research. Denial and dismissal of facts seems more commonplace.  It is my belief that they find comfort by knowing less, and increase their social status by knowing only the same as the other members.  When discussing the ball rolling into goal game, they can become aggressive and war like.  Other humans that meet in shops for drinking of teas and coffees display similar characteristics and basic language development.  These women are also unable to respect other ideas, and are easily provoked into confrontation.  Should an outsider, venture into the territory held by these women of the group, they may be rejected and excluded. Outward appearance is the method that they use to form a judgement.  Clearly this is still a basic evolutionary tool, and it may be many years before these humans are able to look inside out as we do. In this oppressive regime, a uniform is insisted upon, and non -adherence will be judged harshly and again result in exclusion. The outer garments and any accessories must all conform and must be commensurate with the social status of the group.  Rarely can book carrying by seen, and learning or researching are not often evidenced here.

Again, we see a basic people getting by on the land with simple tools and a fixation on appearance and status.  Despite the offering of buildings for learning, it is rare for any of them to venture into these places.  After many years in a building known only as school, there is little evidence of learning.  It is not clear what happens during these years.  Preparations for war and conflict are ever present.  It can only be hoped that as learning and research become more socially acceptable to them, they may develop and grow into a more pleasant and sophisticated group. 

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